For Plastic Free July we looked for a brand that is making it easy and fun for consumers to lower their use of plastic. BeeBee & Leaf offer perfect alternatives to clingfilm and other plastic containers. We also recommend you choose Greenscents organic Washing Up Liquid for washing these innovative and beautiful wraps!
We interviewed Kath Austin, founder of BeeBee to find out more about her company.
Can you tell us a bit about your company?
BeeBee, or as we now call ourselves BeeBee & Leaf, produces alternatives to plastic in the home. Our BeeBee Wraps, the wax food storage, are our flagship product which launched us and now we have Leaf Wraps, a vegan-friendly wax food wrap and BeeBee Wipe, reusable, compostable kitchen sponges.
What made you decide to start BeeBeeWraps?
Back in 2016 my second daughter was born and I was on maternity leave doing a lot of feeding, being awake at night and thinking. I was fed up with all the single use plastic we got through and wondered if there was an alternative. Some Googling later revealed a community of artisanal wax wrap makers around the world. So I made some too.
I spent a long time playing around with different formulas which was always easy with two kids under 5, but I finally decided upon the perfect blend and we were off.
I set up a website and had stalls at markets. It was just me but it was a joy to see peoples’ reactions to the wraps. Since then it’s just taken off in a really big way and now we’re three years in.
How do you come up with your fantastic patterns and designs?
I had a lot of ideas for what I wanted on the wraps. I have a bit of an obsession with fabric and enjoy this aspect of the job enormously.
When I collaborated with a local designer, Karen Jinks, something just slotted into place. We work so well together and she has the uncanny ability to bring to fruition everything I dream up.
Can you tell us more how the BeeBeeWraps are made?
Now we’re a team of people and we work out of a unit in Cambridge making the wraps by hand. We buy our fabric from Asia where it is grown organically and there it is printed with non-toxic dyes. When it arrives here we wax the fabric in-house with British beeswax, cut to size, pack and ship out into the world!
How do you recommend cleaning the wraps and what products would you suggest people use?
Our wraps love cool soapy water and a good scrub with a BeeBee wipe or other sponge or cloth. They will drip dry in minutes and can be reused for around a year. Our new Relax & Rewax Drops are perfect for rewaxing your wraps when they are tired too. (launching end of July)
Why do you think it’s important that people move towards a zero waste plastic-free lifestyle?
I’m glad you said lifestyle because it’s not just about plastic or waste in general, it’s about far more than that. Our impact on the planet is so far reaching that we cannot begin to understand and it can feel very overwhelming.
What really needs to change is attitudes and expectations. Wanting to have it all now is not the right attitude, grow a veggie garden and that will help to reverse the “have it now” mentality. You simply can’t and must move at the pace nature dictates. Strawberries at christmas just isn’t a reality we should experience in the UK.
If we change the mindset of the next generation we will have more hope of effecting the decisions future leaders make. That being said we have to live what we teach and preach so by repeatedly making the right choices we can not only educate our children but make small incremental impact. Don’t run the tap, buy plastic free, cycle or walk everywhere, think twice before buying anything, plan your food to waste less, eat less animal produce, eat the best animal produce your budget can afford, stop flying so much, support tree planting and the list goes on.
Ancient tribes would gather around the “Children’s Fire” and make decisions about their peoples’ future. The Children’s Fire reminded them to think ahead seven generations and consider the impact of any decision. Imagine if every decision was made under those circumstances.
We know you have some ‘Giving Back’ initiatives – could you tell us about those?
We have always tried to be as generous as possible and give back where we can. Being small it starts small but as we grow we have found we can give freely more often.
We supported the Period Poverty project in Malawi by donating or at least substantially discounting wraps given to women on the rural island of Ulufu. They have been encouraged to use Ruby Cups instead of dirty rags to protect themselves during their periods. The cups need washing in antibacterial soap and the soap needed protecting, our wraps are perfect for this. Girls miss school when they bleed because of the “unclean” myths. This equates to a quarter of their education being lost. Using hygienic and discreet period protection gives them confidence to carry on attending as well as keeping them healthy.
Since COVID-19 we’ve seen lots of projects popping up to make non-medical face mask. We knew we could help with the materials so we got in touch with Community Masks for NHS and donated hundreds of metres of fabric. So far they’ve raised £30,000 for NHS charities and the enterprise doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
To find out more and purchase any products from BeeBee & Leaf, visit https://beebeewraps.com/. And they have kindly given us a discount code for 15% off that you can use for your first order – use GS15 at checkout.